I’m back in Hanoi, staying at Mike’s place for the time being. I’ve been here since the afternoon of the 1st. Long story, really, but I was so exhausted and overwhelmed by last minute craziness at my school and moving my stuff from Thai Binh, I just wanted to chill on Saturday night and that’s what we did. Mike has some business to take care of out of town so I’m watching his place for him while he’s gone. He left Sunday afternoon, but Sunday morning we zoomed around town on his motorbike, did some shopping and he showed me how to get to a few interesting sites near his place, albeit on foot. I’m surely not going to attempt riding his bike in this traffic. I’m thinking that once I get settled in my own place I’d like to get a bicycle, though.
Anyway, yesterday (Monday) I went to the local market. Well, there are ‘markets’ on countless streets here. This just happens to be the closest. I bought all sorts of fruits and veggies ~ even fresh eggs and tofu ~ for next to nothing. It’s been so nice having fresh food to cook and eat. I didn’t have my camera with me at the market but I’ll take some pictures another time and post them. Later I walked….and walked….and walked…..wow, I walked a lot yesterday! I walked over to the ‘Old Quarter’ which was where I’d stayed when I first arrived in Vietnam. It’s a hike! Then, of course, once I got there I walked all over, too. One of the places Mike had told me about that looked reachable on foot was the French Cathedral. It was beautiful. Here are a few pictures.
It’s being renovated now. It’s got quite run down after years of neglect (I guess they’ve had other things on their minds in this neck of the woods for a while….), plus the intense heat and humidity have got to be very destructive, too.
Anyway, it does cut quite a striking figure, wouldn’t you say?
I found the scaffolding almost as interesting as the rest of the cathedral!
I thought this was a pretty little scene just outside….
After leaving the cathedral I continued walking around the ‘Quarter’ until I figured I’d better head back to Mike’s place before my feet gave out. I’ve found that sometimes it’s difficult to take pictures here ~ you get ‘shooed off’ sometimes……at least I do. There are some things they just don’t seem to want you taking pictures of…..or maybe they think you’re taking a picture of something that you’re actually not….I don’t know. Lots of times I’ll want to take a pic of a beautiful old iron fence intertwined with vines, but it happens to be outside a building I’m not supposed to photograph……I guess……so I get shooed away. I have no interest whatsoever in the building ~ I just think the fence is pretty. But how do I explain that? I don’t want to cause trouble so I just say ‘Xin loi’ (Excuse me/Sorry) and move on. So, I guess I’ve grown to be somewhat cautious about taking pictures. But I did get this shot of a pagoda door in the Quarter.
See the little lizard to the right? They’re everywhere ~ inside and out!
Oh, I almost forgot….on the way out toward the Quarter, I strolled by a bird show. I guess that’s what you’d call it. You know how folks get together on weekends to show off their classic cars or what-have-you? Well, these folk get together to show off their birds.
I’d like to get one of these bird cages some day. I’ll put a plant in it instead of a bird….. I just think they’re really pretty.
Here is one of the last shots I took in Thai Binh (though I have some more pictures I’d taken during my time there that I still want to post). This is ‘St. Paul’s Cathedral East’ and the Vietnamese flag flying outside the neighbor’s house.
This was part of my view when I’d go to the roof to hang up my laundry. Honestly, I’ve got to say my summer in Thai Binh was a bit of a shock to the system. I’d only been in Vietnam a short time and still adjusting to everything new here when I went to Thai Binh, found myself at the starting gate and heard the word GO!!! I just had to scramble to learn the job, meet new people, adjust to constant….and I mean constant…..changes to what they called ‘the schedule’ and what I ended up calling ‘the random notion.’ I am really grateful for this down-time at Mike’s. And….after all that walking yesterday, I’m happy to stay in today and catch up on some much needed flaking out!